Uncertain Times for UK Gambling Industry

If a business wants to expand its customer base, advertising is an important tool. The UK gambling industry may find this increasingly difficult in the future. Restrictions have already been placed on the content of their advertisements and when they can be shown. More regulation in this area is a possibility in 2023.

UK Gambling Industry

At some point this year the UK Government will publish its White Paper on reform of the gambling industry. During the 2019 General Election campaign, the Conservative Party manifesto promised change in the gambling industry. Much evidence has been collected by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to help determine how to deal with the everchanging gambling industry.

The last Gambling Act came into force in 2005 and a lot has happened since then. Gamblers can now bet online and at all times of the hour. They can also place bets on their mobile devices so the current legislation is rightfully described by many as being “outdated.”

All the problems that took place in Downing Street last year have continually delayed the publication of the White Paper. Current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hasn’t been that vocal on gambling reform. He does of course have a lot on his plate at present but this is a serious issue and needs more attention paid to it.

It’s not an easy time for online gambling platforms operating in the UK.  Planning for the future isn’t an easy task when you don’t know what increased levels of regulation are lurking around the corner. Other European countries such as Spain, Germany and they have been introducing stricter levels of regulation.

UK gambling companies know that their revenue figures may well be affected by what the politicians have in store for them. It’s not just the government that they have to be concerned about though.

The UKGC spent a lot of 2022 flexing their muscles. They don’t think twice about taking action against the gambling companies that they have granted licences to. The past year has seen them order companies such as 888 and Entain to come to financial settlements worth millions of pounds.

If they feel that there have been failings in areas such as anti-money laundering and social responsibility the UKGC will take action. New guidelines have been sent out to licensees and there is the threat of companies having their licence taken from them.

That’s one major worry for UK gambling companies but there are others out there too. Let’s look at the way that these businesses advertise their business. It’s a highly competitive industry and getting new customers to sign up with sites isn’t an easy task.

The main way in which online sites attempt to increase their customer base is in the offering of welcome deals. Many casinos offer free spins and other lucrative incentives to new customers as we can see in this bet365 UK casino bonus review or any other gambling sites such as GrosvenorCasinos. This can see new customers being offered rewards such as free bets and it’s a controversial subject indeed.

Once the new customers have registered their accounts, the next task is to keep them coming back to the online platform. This sees even more promotions being offered. Gamblers can receive their stake back as free bets (sometimes real cash) in certain circumstances. This can happen for example if a horse you’ve backed loses in a photo finish.

There are also VIP programs that see players receive rewards based on how much they bet on the site. Critics see this as just another way of enticing gamblers to keep on spending money with online sites even if they can’t really afford to do so.

It’s rumoured that the White Paper will take some form of action against welcome offers and VIP programs. This will make it more difficult for sites to entice gamblers to open an account with them and thus hit revenue figures.

Then there’s the even more controversial subjects of gambling advertisements and their sponsorship of sport. Already the Advertising Standards Authority have placed restrictions on who can appear in gambling advertisements. Sports stars and celebrities who can be seen as role models to young people are now banned from appearing.

Restrictions have also been placed on when gambling-related advertisements can be shown. Many campaigners still believe though that there are far too many on television, radio and social media. Further restrictions are likely to be introduced in the future.

There are still too many English Premier League clubs that have sponsorship deals with gambling companies. The English Football League is sponsored by Sky Bet and it’s a deal they don’t want to see end anytime soon.

A voluntary ban on sponsorship by gambling companies is under consideration by the Premier League. Just when a decision is going to be made isn’t known. It’s not believed the White Paper will introduce a compulsory ban on such deals.

It’s a worrying time therefore for the UK gambling industry. They are already concerned about increased regulation and expanding their overseas business is becoming more desirable. It’s going to be interesting to see just how future regulation affects the revenue of UK gambling companies.